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Copa-Cogeca Calls for More Support for Egg Industry

by 5m Editor
22 February 2011, at 12:47am

EU - Copa-Cogeca has highlighted the crucial role of EU farmers as a drive of the rural economy, and called on Member States to allocate more money to animal welfare in their rural development programmes and on the EU to continue to promote the health benefits of eggs.

In a high level meeting with the Hungarian Presidency yesterday, European farmers' union, Copa-Cogeca highlighted the crucial role of EU farmers and cooperatives as an essential driver of the rural economy in much of the EU.

Speaking with Hungarian Agriculture Minister, Mr Fazekas, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: "EU agriculture, together with the agri-food sector, is one of the EU's most important economic sectors, generating a total turnover of some €1,270 billion and providing employment for over 40 million people in rural areas. On top of their economic production role, EU farmers carry out schemes to protect the environment and maintain sustainable land management in less-favoured areas covering over 38 million hectares. This not only contributes to the attractiveness of rural areas for the 150 million people who live there, but it also brings in essential revenue generated by tourism. Three-quarters of all EU tourist accommodation can be found in rural areas."

In view of this, it is vital to maintain a strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with an adequately funded EU rural development policy.

"We do not believe that there should be major changes to rural policy in the future CAP and we are calling for less favoured area payments to remain in pillar two of the CAP. Furthermore, the new delimitation criteria of LFAs must be appropriate, reasonable and have a sufficient level of subsidiarity at Member State level," Mr Pesonen stressed.

Turning to the welfare of laying hens and new rules to phase out conventional cages by 2012, he highlighted the risk of increased imports of eggs flooding onto the EU market which do not meet EU rules.

Mr Pesonen commented: "EU trade policy must consequently ensure that the same rules apply to imports. As some farmers have major difficulties in meeting the standards, member states should allocate more money to animal welfare in their rural development programmes. Moreover, many small farms could disappear altogether as a result of this new EU directive. Copa-Cogeca is also calling on the EU to prolong the current promotion regime in order to inform consumers about the nutritional benefits of eggs."